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Philadelphia 76ers’ Indifferent Season: From Early season Table-toppers to Playoffs Candidates

Before the suspension of the current NBA season, there had been a couple of surprises in what has so far been an action-packed NBA season.

One of the surprises was at the beginning of the season when the Philadelphia 76ers opened their campaign with five consecutive wins to take control of the Eastern Conference’s top spot. They had also claimed the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The results were a contrast of their early season form in the previous campaign. The 76ers had managed just two wins from their opening five games of the 2018-2019 NBA season.

At the time, it appeared that the Philadelphia 76ers were ready to mount a massive push for the top position in the Eastern Conference and maintain consistency throughout the entire season. However, several months down the line, the 76ers find themselves in the fight for a playoff spot instead of a race to claim the top spot in the Eastern Conference, with the Milwaukee Bucks set to clinch the position. The Philadelphia 76ers currently find themselves occupying the 6th position of the Eastern Conference with a 39-26 win-loss record. They also hold the third position of the Atlantic Division. They are still in contention to secure qualification to the playoffs in the postseason to hopefully secure a fourth overall fourth NBA Championship and their first since 1983 if the season resumes.

We take a look at the Philadelphia 76ers’ season so far, the standout performers, and their chances of securing a playoff spot if the season resumes.

 

Philadelphia 76ers’ season so far

After crashing out of the Conference Semifinals at the hands of eventual NBA champions, Toronto Raptors, the 76ers entered the new season with high spirits and motivation to improve on last season’s feat.

The 76ers began the season with five consecutive victories to elevate them to the top of the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division. The most notable success came in a home game against preseason title favorites Boston Celtics in their opening game of the season. The 76ers claimed an upset 107-93 win over the Celtics. The other four wins came against Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers.

The perfect winning start came to a screeching halt as the 76ers lost their next three games against Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets away from home. The 76ers would go on to record two wins and two defeats from their next four games. At that stage, it had become apparent that inconsistency had set in the team. However, the 76ers quickly shook off the early season bad results to record eight wins and two losses in the next ten games. A consecutive 5-game winning streak afterward, which included wins over the likes of Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics soon followed. The victory against the Celtics was the second win in their two games against them this season.

However, three consecutive defeats against Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Dallas Mavericks ended that great run. The 76ers ended 2019 with three wins and three losses from 6 games. At the end of 2019, the Philadelphia boasted of a 23-13 win-loss record.

The team kicked off the New Year on the wrong note after losing 118-108 at Houston Rockets. They then recovered to claim eight wins from the next 11 games beating the likes of Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors during that run. The win over the Celtics was the third over the Boston side in their third consecutive encounter. Since then, Philadelphia 76ers have recorded eight victories and nine defeats in their last 17 games before the postponement of the remainder of the season.

 

Standout Performers so far

For the past few seasons, the 76ers have achieved success from the collective contributions of a crop of talented players. This season has been no exception.

The likes of Center Joel Embiid, Forwards Tobias Harris and Al Horford, Point Guard Ben Simmons, Shooting Guard Josh Richardson, have been integral members of the team this season.

Joel Embiid has averaged 23.4 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, and 3.1 assists per game in 44 appearances so far. Point Guard Ben Simmons has also averaged 16.7 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, 8.2 assists per game, and 2.1 steal per game in 54 games this season.

Tobias Harris has also averaged 19.4 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, and 3.2 assists per game in 65 games so far.

Al Horford has also averaged 12.0 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 4.1 assists per game in 60 games.

Josh Richardson has also averaged 13.8 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists per game in 48 games.

 

Their chances of reaching the playoffs

At the moment, the Philadelphia 76ers are still in contention to make the playoffs, but they will have to fight till the end of the season. The remaining games will see the team face some of their fellow playoffs contenders and topsides. The 76ers have ten home games to play out of the remaining 17 games. Their 29-2 record at home makes them a challenging prospect and favorites to win. They are also still yet to lose a home game in 2020.  Victories in the remaining ten games will all but guarantee the Philadelphia 76ers a place in the playoffs.

 

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